If you’re a first-time mom, breastfeeding may seem like a daunting task to you. Breastfeeding is a skill, and it takes time, patience, and practice to perfect this skill. However, breastfeeding success depends a lot on how you hold your baby during a feeding session. For your help, here are some of the best breastfeeding positions you can try, plus tips to make breastfeeding an enjoyable experience.
Best Breastfeeding Positions to Try
#The Cradle Hold
This is the most common breastfeeding position many mothers try soon after childbirth. Perfect for older babies who already know how to latch on to the breast properly, this classic position requires you to hold your baby’s head in the crook of your elbow on the same side as the nursing breast. Since it puts too much pressure on the belly, you should not even try it if you have had a cesarean delivery. In other words, the cradle hold position works best for babies born vaginally.
#The Cross-Cradle Hold
Also known as the cross-over hold, this position is quite similar to the cradle hold, with the only difference that you support your baby with the opposite arm as the nursing breast. For instance, if you’re feeding on the left breast, you’re required to use your right arm to support the baby and support the feeding breast with your left hand. Giving mothers more control over how their baby latches on, the cross-cradle hold position is ideal for early breastfeeding and proves useful for babies who have trouble latching on.
#The Side-Lying Hold
This easy and comfortable breastfeeding position works best for mothers who have had a C-section (Cesarean Section) or difficult delivery because the baby doesn’t put pressure on mum’s tummy. You lie down on your side and breastfeed the baby lying on her side facing you. Sometimes also called Reclining Position, the Side-Lying Hold is ideal for nursing in bed at night and getting some rest while feeding the baby. Make sure you wear soft and comfy feeding nightwear with easy nursing access for hassle-free breastfeeding at night.
#The Football Hold
In this position, the baby is tucked under mom’s arm on the same side that she is feeding on. Also referred to as the Clutch or Underarm position, this position proves very helpful for mothers who have had a cesarean, twin babies, premature newborns, milk ejection reflex, and large breasts or flat nipples. As the Football Hold allows babies to get breast milk more efficiently, it can be used until the infant learns how to latch on to the breast correctly.
Also called Biological Nurturing, this position requires a mom to have a comfortable, semi-reclining position (either on a chair or in bed) and laying the baby to breastfeed across her stomach or shoulder vertically. By establishing a natural physical connection between a mother and her baby, laid-back breastfeeding encourages the baby to use his instincts to find the breast and milk. Used mostly by small-breasted mums, this position sometimes doesn’t even require you to hold your breast or support your baby.
Helpful Tips for Every Nursing Position
Whichever nursing position you prefer to use, getting yourself and your little one comfortable is the key to successful and enjoyable breastfeeding. Use a soft and cozy nursing pillow to support your baby in your lap, and try not to bend towards your baby when breastfeeding. Also, keep experimenting with different positions until you find a position that allows you to successfully nurse your baby and make you feel comfortable while breastfeeding.
#Support Your Nursing Breast
Breastfeeding is not just about pulling out your breasts and fitting the nipple into your baby’s mouth. Since your breasts get heavier during breastfeeding, you need to support the nursing breast using your free hand. Mothers with large breasts must support their breasts during the entire nursing session, whereas small-breasted moms often hold their breasts only during latching. While you’re supporting your breast, it’s suggested to keep fingers at least two inches behind your baby’s mouth.
#Support Your Baby
To make sure your little one gets the maximum possible amount of breast milk, support him as much as possible during lactation. Use your arm and hand to support your baby’s body and keep his neck, back, and hips in a straight line. Keep his nose and mouth towards your breast and gently rub the nipple across his top lip to encourage him to open his mouth. Additionally, to keep your baby away from distractions, consider using an opaque nursing cover.
#Switch Breasts When Necessary
If your baby is nursing properly, then you should not disturb him to switch your breasts. But if you feel your breast will empty or your baby appears hungry even after feeding on one breast, you can offer him your full breast until he gets full. In case you don’t switch, remember to use the full breast for the next feeding.
#Relax, Then Nurse
Last but certainly not least, relax and don’t panic. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and let peaceful thoughts come into mind. You can also boost your milk supply with complete lactation protein powder if you’re struggling with lactation. As a general rule, you should drink 3 liters of water a day to produce enough milk in the lactation period.